ACLU Challenges Georgia Voter Signature-Matching Law

ATLANTA, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit today against Secretary of State Brian Kemp and all county registrars demanding they provide due process for Georgia voters whose absentee ballots or applications are being rejected due to an alleged mismatch of signatures.

The case was filed on behalf of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project. At issue is a state law that allows election officials — who have no handwriting-analysis expertise — to reject an absentee ballot if they think there is a signature mismatch in the voter’s paperwork, without giving prior notice to the voter or an opportunity to contest that determination.

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The ACLU is seeking a temporary restraining order requiring election officials to provide absentee voters the opportunity to confirm their identity or otherwise resolve the alleged discrepancy.

The lawsuit notes that a voter’s signature could vary for a “variety of reasons, both intentional and unintentional. Unintentional factors include age, physical and mental condition, disability, medication, stress, accidents, and inherent differences in a person’s neuromuscular coordination and stance. Variants are more prevalent in people who are older, disabled, or who speak English as a second language.”

Sophia Lakin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said:

“People should not be denied their right to vote because of penmanship, but that’s exactly what is happening in Georgia. With an election on the horizon, we should be protecting voters, not denying them the opportunity to ensure their vote is counted.”

The complaint is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/georgia-muslim-voter-project-v-kemp-complaint